What is adventitial cystic disease?

Adventitial cystic disease is a rare condition in which a cyst forms in an artery and narrows or blocks blood flow. The condition usually affects the popliteal artery, which supplies blood to the knee joint and calf muscles and foot. In rare cases, the condition can cause cysts to form in other arteries.

What are the symptoms of adventitial cystic disease?

The symptoms of adventitial cystic disease are leg pain or heaviness brought on by walking or exercising. The pain typically goes away with stopping the walking or exercise but it often slow to resolve (up to 20 minutes). The duration of symptoms is generally relatively short (weeks to months). The leg pain is known as intermittent claudication (walking pain). Some patients also have pain behind the knee.

The symptoms of adventitial cystic disease are similar to popliteal artery entrapment (PAES). If a young patient has pain when walking, the doctor will check for both of these conditions.

Who is at risk of developing adventitial cystic disease?

Young to middle-aged males are the most likely to develop adventitial cystic disease. The cause of the problem is still unknown. Men are affected five times more commonly than women.

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